I was taught that God wants us to live freely, but I never understood what that kind of freedom meant or felt like. It seemed like a good idea in theory, but elusive — I had no idea how to grab a hold of it. Granted, there were seasons of my life when I felt free but really wasn’t.
If freedom meant being carefree and uninhibited, that kind of freedom was mine during the years I was addicted to drugs (more on that in my book). I was free to make the decisions I wanted and do whatever made me feel good in the moment, but that freedom never brought me peace. I was free but not fully alive. I was enslaved to my own freedom — which was really counterfeit freedom.
So what does biblical freedom mean? The freedom God offers throughout Scripture is freedom from the enslaving power of sin in our lives. The Enemy uses sin to obstruct our relationship with God, keeping us from experiencing abundant life in God.
- Biblical freedom allows us to reclaim what the Enemy has robbed from us so we can live the story of who God created us to be.
By contrast, worldly freedom is the ability to do what we want, when we want. When Adam and Eve were in Eden, they were free to choose whether to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But choosing to eat from it brought consequences — death.
Paul gives us a clear idea of this whole freedom thing and defines what biblical freedom truly means and doesn’t mean. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:12,
‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.
What does this mean for you? This means Jesus set you free so you can stand firm in His power to live a life that is free and fully alive, not so you can be bound to the things of this earth. He wants you awakened to a life that can hold both hurt and hope. A life that cries out in grief but can whisper gratitude in the same breath.
This kind of freedom allows you to have faith in Christ but still experience human fears. You can bring them both before the cross, where His grace, love, and mercy can cover you and empower you.
Addressing Counterfeit Freedom
There’s a not-so-fun part of finding freedom, though.
- If you want to be truly free, you must first recognize the places where you have settled for counterfeit freedom.
You must awaken to the reality that parts of your story have been hijacked by an Enemy who wants you to believe that freedom lies in your power to choose, rather than through the transformation of your heart.
Once you recognize where this Enemy has attacked your story, you can begin the work of reclaiming those places so you can experience the life abundant and return to who you were created to be.
The Hope of Redemption
We all come with stories — some good, some bad, and some really hard. Our deepest desire is to be known and loved, but our stories often include times when we were not known for who we really are and definitely were not fully loved. And yet we can’t escape the belief that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for our stories, that maybe our lives can be redeemed and we can emerge as the free little ones we once were.
Our spirits hold a curiosity around hope. Even if that hope has sunk within us, it’s still there, calling to us, speaking of what was and what could be. This longing comes from the desire to create and dream and play. It’s as if our spirits know life wasn’t supposed to be this way — we weren’t made for pain and despair. We were designed for something greater. Our spirits long for Eden.
- Our spirits long for the goodness and intimacy they were created to experience.
They long for the wonder of the unknown and the mystery of what could be. Our spirits seem to know something our brains don’t — that we were made for abundant life — but our brains won’t let us engage because of fear of disappointment or failure or rejection. It’s our spirits that keep leading us to the reckless hope of trying again.
All it takes to keep going is a willingness to be honest, to invite God into the story, and to allow some trustworthy people to witness your story in a way that enables your heart to be seen and held. Something dynamic and supernatural begins to happen. Life starts to have color. The puzzle pieces of your broken story come together. You are awakened to a God who sees you in the hard and the holy, and you realize you are loved.
God meets the great longing of your soul within the recesses of the stories you bear — which He wants to redeem.
Adapted from Free and Fully Alive: Reclaiming the Story of Who You Were Created to Be by Karrie Garcia, copyright Karrie Garcia.
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God wants us to live in actual freedom, not counterfeit freedom. Jesus wants you awakened to a life that can hold both hurt and hope. Is that how you’re living? What parts still need to be redeemed with the freedom Jesus already paid for? Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily